Author: Rodolfo Antonio Salido Benítez
Completion Date: Fall 2015 - Fall 2017
Software: Simplify 3D and Autodesk Fusion 360
Place of Creation: Califronia Institute for Biomedical Research. (Calibr) Knight Lab (UC San Diego Health)
Techniques: Computer aided design & manufacturing and rapid prototyping.
Materials: Polylactic Acid (PLA).
The inflated expenditures associated with research equipment and consumables can often transform an innovative idea into a cost prohibitive goal. Even simple supplies, like labeling tape and notepads, can suffer from a research specific premium. The prices can be justified when companies have to make up for the research investment behind their products, but simple mechanical equipment and plasticware components that are easily designed and manufactured shouldn't have to fall in this category.
Personal manufacturing is allowing researchers to produce equipment and components for self consumption and free distribution. Simple lab components, from tools to tool holders, are now being designed and manufactured a the bench top. Personal manufacturing is also fueling DIY lab instrumentation upgrades and device hacking for augmented applications, a process that can be both expensive and time consuming when mediated through an industry provider. These user produced goods can disrupt an inflated supply chain and effectively reduce costs associated with lab infrastructure while also expanding the repertoire of supply availability through open source open hardware philosophies. Free digital distribution of goods also relieves the burden of traditional market driven product design allowing designers to explore niche products. This has practically resulted in an abundance of niche lab tools that one can freely browse, download, and manufacture from science specific repositories like the NIH 3D Print Exchange.
The following are some personal designs of 3D printed solutions to simple lab problems that range from ergonomics to instrument upgrades. All of these were personally manufactured using a RepRap 3D printer.